Collaboration is an important skill for students to master during their time in school. Being able to collaborate with peers and work colleagues in the future is an essential aspect to aid good communication. Group work is an integral facet in modern classrooms today. Offering collaborative learning opportunities to our students not only helps to keep them engaged but also facilitates higher level thinking. According to research by Webb, students who work together collaboratively obtain higher scores than those who have worked alone.
When organizing groups for group work activities keep in mind the numbers needed for a productive group. 3 students or less does not promote varied thinking. Groups of 4 to 5 students generally work best as students can share ideas and meaningful contributions. Once the group is established encourage students to assign roles within the group. This helps to strengthen the group and makes all students accountable for the work completed.
Take the steps needed to help improve your students' communication skills. When these skills have been mastered collaboration will come more naturally to them. Open communication is key for successful collaboration, once there is a level of trust within groups you will see students supporting one and other which then leads to better understanding of the material through the constant discussion amongst peers.
It is not only important to encourage collaboration amongst our students. It’s essential that it is also encouraged among those who work in the school. Teachers are often perceived to be alone in the work that they do. When teachers work together to create a collaborative educational community the opportunities are endless. With idea sharing and co-teaching schools become a more open and interactive place to be.
We’d love to hear about any teaching strategies that you use with your students. Please share what works well for you with @aquilaeducation on Twitter orFacebook.
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